Help Hannah get a Service Dog for Narcolepsy!

For: Hannah
Seattle, WA
Organizer: Hannah
Help Hannah get a Service Dog for Narcolepsy! (Hannah)
$130
of $12,000 goal.
Raised by 5 donors
1% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Hello!

My name is Hannah. I am 24 years old and was recently diagnosed with Narcolepsy. Before I move on, I'd like to point out that Narcolepsy is quite different than many of you probably think it is. I don't comically pass out randomly in the middle of walking or talking. Narcolepsy is a neurological degenerative autoimmune disease. It causes my brain's inability to determine whether I should be awake, asleep or dreaming.

My symptoms began to surface when I was 15. I would sleep through nearly all my classes, including tests. My grades were horrendously bad and I had no motivation. My family and I blamed it on depression (as I was terribly depressed) and my parents worked endlessly to help me and improve my quality of life. When I was 17 I stopped taking my medication for ADHD (one of the same medications used to treat Narcolepsy; one I can't take because of the side effects). My depression alleviated and I regained enough energy that I didn't think about my sleepiness again until I was 20.

Like many other Narcoleptics, diagnosable symptoms often begin to show in one's early 20's. It started out as feeling a strong desire to go back to sleep after being fully awake and active for 2-3 hours. If I forced myself to stay awake, the grogginess and aches would pass after about an hour. If I allowed myself to nap, I would sleep immediately and wake up about half an hour later feeling fine.

I thought everyone had this problem. I thought everyone was this tired. It got worse and worse to the point that I was secretly leaving my desk to nap bent over my lap in a bathroom stall to avoid faceplanting on my keyboard.

The sleepiness is painful and debilitating. Researchers of Narcolepsy have aptly described it as the equivalent to a "normal" person staying awake and working for 48-72 hours straight.

The sleepiness was my most noticeable symptom, but since I wasn't caring for myself other symptoms worsened and began to affect my life. Symptoms like false memories, inability to remember whole days at a time, hallucinations, extreme difficulty staying awake while driving, terrifying nightmares paired with sleep paralysis, and Cataplexy (see below to learn more about Cataplexy) were monsters in my life. I still struggle with all these symptoms, but they are less terrifying now that I know what they are and I am developing coping skills to manage them when they happen.

Now that I have a diagnosis I am learning how to take care of myself and my Narcolepsy, but it isn't easy. I am unable to be medicated effectively because the two treatments available to me cause severe depression that make the symptoms worse.

WHAT I NEED FROM YOU:

It's clear to my doctors and me that I need something else to help me and a service dog has become the focus of moving forward with my treatment.

A service dog would be invaluable to my health and safety by helping me maintain wakefulness when I must be awake, giving me a barrier and keep me safe if I must rest (especially in a public place), help me maintain alertness while driving, provide me with reality checks after terrifying and realistic nightmares, and stress reduction which should help all of my symptoms.

There are a dozen other ways a service dog will improve my quality of life, but those are the highlights.


WHY DO I NEED YOUR HELP?

Service dogs are expensive! Holy crap! Applications alone cost $100 each and the dog itself costs upwards of $25,000 to train and place.

The good news: I don't have to pay $25k.

The so-so news: I have to help with the cost via personal funds or fundraising. Many places (especially the ones that are capable of training Narcolepsy Medical Alert Dogs) ask for $10k in fundraising from the person receiving a dog.

$10k is a lot of money and it's strictly the cost of the dog. I will also need to buy high quality equipment for the dog like a seat belt and harness, crate, leads and collars, vests, etc, all of which I can't buy until I know what breed and size of dog I'm going to receive.

Please help me raise money for a life-changing companion.

If you have questions about Narcolepsy or my status in obtaining a service dog, please feel free to contact me. You deserve to understand what you’re helping me accomplish.

To learn more about Narcolepsy:
http://narcolepsynetwork.org/about-narcolepsy/narcolepsy-fast-facts/

A short news article on Narcolepsy medical alert dogs (focus on Cataplexy episodes):
http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/2014/10/service-dogs-narcolepsy-patients/

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on March 24, 2015

Posted on March 24, 2015

Yay! $65 raised so far and I was able yo use some of it for my first paid application. This one was sent in to Little Angels Service Dogs in San Diego, CA.

I emailed them ahead of time with my expected needs and they seemed optimistic about my knowledge, needs and path for seeking a service dog.

Yay! Moving forward! Slowly but surely, I will obtain the tools I need for a higher quality of life :) and a coincidental new best friend isn't bad either ;)

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